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Philadelphia Gets a Chief Data Officer

Mark Headd, the city’s first chief data officer, has been working as Code for America’s government relations director.

Philadelphia has named Mark Headd the city’s first chief data officer.

Headd has been working as Code for America’s government relations director.  The nonprofit organization is best known for assigning volunteer computer programmers with city governments. The one-year fellowships are designed to help address local projects that improve e-government.

Headd is not a newcomer to the public sector. According to Headd’s blog,  he was the chief policy and budget adviser for Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information. Headd also has served as director of the Delaware Government Information Center and as a technology adviser to former Delaware Gov. Thomas Carper.

Headd also has organized civic hacking events and built open government apps for several big cities, including Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid announced the hiring in a tweet Wednesday, Aug. 8.

This year Philadelphia has bolstered its commitment to open data. In April, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order establishing an open data policy that governs data released by city agencies. The policy also covers an open data website.

The chief data officer is relatively new to local governments. Chicago was one of the first cities to name a “CDO.” It’s probably too early to call a trend, but Philadelphia’s new chief data officer might lend credence to the idea that the job will become more common in big-city governments.  


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.